4 min read

Future of Venues Startup Showcase: Why the sports and entertainment industry must develop clearer pathways for new technologies


By Gav Parry, co-founder of Usual Company

The entertainment industry stands at a crossroads. Home entertainment options are undergoing a revolution, with advancements like Apple Vision and XTADIUM blowing people’s minds. The shift compels traditional entertainment venues – stadiums, festivals and conferences – to adapt and innovate, or face a challenging future.

We know large corporations struggle with innovation – that’s not a groundbreaking statement.

Consider these figures: the 2019 McKinsey report revealed up to 90 percent of corporate innovation efforts fail to achieve their desired outcomes; additionally, a Bain study discovered that large companies take an average of 34 weeks to launch new products, compared to just 10 weeks for smaller organizations.

Compounding these challenges for the entertainment industry, they typically invest less in research and development (R&D) compared to other sectors. Sitting alongside financial services, logistics, transportation and construction, R&D expenditures typically fall between 1-3 percent of revenue. Entertainment does pull its weight a little more when it comes to mergers and acquisitions (M&A), but comparing to some legacy industries when it comes to investing into innovation doesn’t totally sit right.

With limited R&D investment and no clear pathways for the corporates to connect with startups, how do we innovate quickly enough to drive the fan experience forward?

We believe that through regular events and conversations, we’ll be able to address access issues for startups and time constraints faced by corporations. We will foster a more collaborative environment to ensure the entertainment industry remains a vibrant and captivating force for generations to come.

Our goal as an industry should be to become proactive rather than reactive. The only way to get there is to bring both ends of the industry together.

This is why we are excited to announce our first showcase aimed at addressing innovation across venues, to be held next month in Brisbane.

The event, made possible thanks to partnerships with Entain Venues, CherryHub/ebet, AWS, Folklore Ventures, DMCG and Overnight Success, will provide eight startups with the opportunity to connect directly with venues across Australia.

These startups will have the chance to walk away with $20,000 in prizes ($10,000 cash and $10,000 recruitment), but far more importantly gain access to direct sales support for a month as part of Entain Venues’ network of 1,100 venues.


“We’re excited to showcase the future of venues, by partnering with startups who align with our commitment to growing the industry through innovation and disruption,” said Entain Venues General Manager Mark Sturdy.

“We share the same DNA, and together we will redefine what’s possible, pushing the boundaries, and shaping venues of the future.”


At the heart of the partnership lies a commitment to fuel innovation and drive growth within the Australian and New Zealand entertainment landscape in venues.

This showcase will run from March 19-21 and serves as a launchpad for groundbreaking technologies that will propel venues into a new golden age. It’s an opportunity to not only see the current state of technology within the market, but where the entertainment industry is heading.



Bec Wendland, Investor at Folklore
Leon Colosimo, Managing Partner of Momento Hospitality
Mandy Makryllos, Cherryhub Co-founder & Ebet Chief Marketing and Technology Officer
Mark Sturdy, General Manager of Entain Venues


Selection panel

Brad Moran, CitrusAd founder
Nick Shewring, Usual Company Co-founder
Nicole Thomas, Entain Venues, Head of Sales & BD


Dates/Schedule: March 19-21

12.30-1.30 – Lunch with the founders
Grab lunch with the founders who are changing the face of the venue space (limited spots)

3-4pm – Venues roundtable
Mark Sturdy, Mandy Makryollos and special guests to discuss the challenge venues face and the opportunities over the coming years.

11-12pm – The Future of Venues, The Pitch
The founders who have joined us over the previous few days come together to deliver their pitch to the judges for their chance at the prize pool (limited spots)


Location: The Lord Alfred Hotel, 68 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane City QLD 4000

If you’re keen to head along, drop [email protected] a note. Spots are limited.

Thanks so much to our partners: AWS, Folklore, DMCG & Overnight Success.

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